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Did you know you can learn first aid skills to support people with mental health problems? These courses can help you make a real difference to your community, and support people you care about.

Mental illness is a health problem that significantly affects how a person feels, think, behaves, and interacts with other people. 

The 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing was the most recent National Survey specifically on mental disorders in Australian Adults. The survey estimated that approximately 45 per-cent of Australian had, in their lifetime, experienced a mental health disorder. 

According to the 2017 –2018 National Health Survey, one in five (20.1 per-cent) or 4.8 million Australians had a mental or behavioural condition. This demonstrated an increase from around 4.0 million Australians (17.5%) in 2014-15. This increase was predominantly due to an increase in the number of people reporting anxiety-related conditions and depression or feelings of depression.

Learning skills to assist someone experiencing a mental health crisis can make a real difference to your community. It can provide you with confidence to assist, encourage the de-stigmatising of attitudes in the community, increase the amount of support available and educate in the knowledge of mental health, treatments and suggested strategies for dealing with a crisis of someone experiencing problems with mental health. It can be used to provide initial support in a situation.

Programs, populations and services that programs are tailored to include:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health First Aid
  • Blended Mental Health First Aid in the Workplace
  • Financial Counsellors
  • Mental Health First Aid for the Public
  • Mental Health First Aid for the Suicidal Person
  • Mental Health First Aid Instructor Training Courses
  • Nursing and Medical Students
  • Older Person Mental; Health First Aid
  • People with Intellectual Disability
  • Standard Mental Health First Aid
  • Teen Mental Health First Aid
  • Vietnamese and Chinese Australians
  • Youth Mental Health First aid

A woman cradles a ceramic red heart in her hands signifying support. A support concept photo.

Crisis situations that are covered in Mental Health First Aid include:

  • Developing mental health problems such as Anxiety, Depression, Eating Disorders, Psychosis, Substance Use
  • Aggressive Behaviour
  • Effects of alcohol or other drug use
  • Panic Attack
  • Psychotic states
  • Self-Harm
  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviours
  • Trauma responses

Courses and eLearning

Courses are available through Mental Health First Aid Australia (MHFA) In response to COVID-19, Mental Health First Aid Australia has recently released new 100% online versions of evidence-based courses for workplaces and the general community.

UNSW Sydney has free eLearning courses aimed at Carers and Family in Intellectual Disability Mental Health, Health Professionals and Disability Professionals.

Some resources to support Mental Health Situations

If you are looking for resources like guidelines, or mental health first-aid help for crisis situations, and how to be supportive, Mental Health First Aid Australia resources are available for download here and cover topics like support for gambling problems, providing mental health first aid in the workplace, including prevention in the workplace and guidelines for carers of someone with a mental illness.

Headspace Centreseheadspace and the Headspace National Telehealth Centre are available to 12- 25 year-olds in regional and rural areas, and provide free online and telephone support and counselling for young people, family and friends in Australia. Resources on the website are broken into support categories of friends and family, school and health professionals, for young people, and include tips for maintaining good mental health.

Further reading

Healthy Mind - mental health program for people with intellectual disability 
National Crisis Numbers
Mental Health Month
How to get a Mental Health Plan

Information Sourced From

Australian Bureau Of Statistics – National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing 2007
Australian Bureau of Statistics – National Health Survey 2017 -2018
Australian Government Department of Health
Beyond Blue
Council for Intellectual Disability
Intellectual Disability Mental Health e-Learning
Mental Health First Aid Australia
NSW Government Health - Mental Health
UNSW Sydney

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